Jennifer Brandel began her career in journalism in the early 2000s, reporting for outlets including WBEZ, NPR, APM, PRI, CBC, Radiotopia, The New York Times and Vice, picking up awards along the way. In 2011 she founded the groundbreaking audience-first series, Curious City at WBEZ in Chicago. Hearken was awarded a spot in Matter.vc's accelerator and took home the prize for "Best Bootstrap Company" at SXSW 2016. Brandel was awarded the 2016 Media Changemaker Prize from the Center for Collaborative Journalism and named one of 30 world-changing women in conscious business.
Anna Nirmala joins Hearken after being a management consultant for a big 4 firm, focusing on strategy and operations. After realizing that almost all of her free time was spent obsessing over journalism and the media in general, the opportunity at Hearken ended up being the perfect place to transition into a mission driven career and workplace. In her spare time you'll find her debating between listening to new vs. old school hip hop, cooking, reading, traveling, playing the piano, and trying to check out the latest TV "must see" series.
She is most definitely a dog person.
KEVIN DAVIS ADVISOR
Kevin Davis has spent more than 20 years leading operations and revenue generation for several entertainment and news media companies, including Variety, The Wrap and Hollywood.com. Most recently, Kevin was the inaugural Executive Director and CEO of INN, the Institute for Nonprofit News (formerly the Investigative News Network). In addition to his work for Hearken, Kevin is the founder and CEO of KLJD Consulting and is a guest lecturer at the Stockholm School of Economics – Riga where he teaches marketing and business strategy to media managers and journalists from all over Europe.
Alex Allen started her career in the world of nonprofits and community organizing. She eventually made her way to Yelp where she helped small business owners learn the ins and outs of online marketing. After, she started her own personal development company before joining Hearken in 2017.
You can find her obsessing over yoga, bacon, and the color yellow.
She is a cat person, although she lives with a beautiful boxer named Greta.
Summer Fields has worked with news organizations on serving their audiences' curiosity with Hearken since 2016. Before that, she wrote a sociology thesis at the University of Chicago on the fraught concept of "diversity" within public media, and interviewed dozens of minority producers and podcasters on their experiences in the industry. She's a self-taught audio producer who has trained many other folks on the craft, and was named a 2015 Association of Independents in Radio (AIR) New Voices Scholar.
She is decidedly a dog person: Shiba inus over everything.
Julia Haslanger comes to Hearken with ink-stained hands. She's worked recently as an audience engagement editor at The Wall Street Journal, and as a web producer and page designer at Politico. She earned her master's degree in Social Journalism from the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. On weekends, you'll find her watching Packers football and baking something delicious.
She is also a cat person (her cat's hashtag is #PicaTheCat).
Stephanie’s career in local journalism has spanned newsrooms ranging from for-profit and nonprofit startups to traditional daily newspapers, where she gradually shifted from multimedia reporting to a focus on audience development and community engagement through public-powered journalism, events, social media and connecting with readers.
Like a quickly-growing number of people, she is an enthusiastic Denver transplant (mountains! breweries! erratic weather!) after working as a journalist in New York City, Southern California, Washington, D.C., and her hometown — Phoenix.
Stephanie loves both cats and dogs, but she’ll only make this face for the latter.
Janine Anderson built a career out of community journalism, at small weeklies, mid-size dailies and hyperlocal websites. She encountered Hearken's public-powered journalism model at a conference in December 2013, and fell in love.
She loves journalism that helps build community through a better understanding of the people within it and the stories they have to share, like this gem from a past life.
Janine grew up in small-town Wisconsin but is decidedly a city girl. When she's not writing (or reading), she's knitting, dancing or helping her favorite local theater company.
Connecting audiences with what matters most to them has been Bridget's goal throughout her career, from working in the newsroom of a community daily to guiding audience development strategy at a national magazine publisher. She earned her master's degree in Integrated Marketing Communications from the Medill School at Northwestern University, and is a member of ONA and NLGJA.
An Illinois-to-Wisconsin transplant, she was a Cubs fan way before it was cool. When not at work, there's a good chance you'll find her with her nose buried in a book.
Krystina Martinez comes to Hearken from public radio. At KERA, she was an award-winning producer and worked nearly every job in the newsroom. Her work has been heard on NPR, Marketplace, and various podcasts. She was named an AIR New Voice Scholar in 2016, awarded to emerging talent changing the face of public media. She first got her start as an intern at NPR's Weekend Edition, where she once returned a CD for Susan Stamberg.
Krystina’s a Texas native and calls Dallas home. In her free time, she enjoys powerlifting, dancing, sewing, reading, and most importantly – napping.
Krystina thinks cats are suspicious. She’s a dog person.
Alison Jones had a wide-ranging career in the nonprofit world before learning to code, including working on several volunteer engagement projects with Habitat for Humanity International. Over the course of about a decade, she went from building houses to building teams to building web apps. Most recently, she has worked as a software developer at startups in Boulder, CO. Alison likes to read books, watch birds, and explore outside.
Layton Williams took an unorthodox route into the world of journalism. Before finding her way to Hearken, she worked as a middle and high school educator in Texas, then attended seminary and worked as a Presbyterian pastor in downtown Chicago before becoming the Audience Engagement Editor at a faith-based advocacy publication called Sojourners in Washington D.C..
The thread tying all of these professional pursuits together is Layton’s passion for story, and her conviction that good storytelling can connect people and transform the world. In addition to her work at Hearken, she explores this passion through writing, traveling, and ministry efforts in Charleston, SC. Ask her about Brunch Church!
She loves both cats and dogs very much, especially her cat Gryffindor. She is also a sloth person.
Meredith Turk has worked in public media for almost a decade since starting at KBIA at the University of Missouri. She was the lead producer for Homefront: Fort Drum, a community engagement project with North Country Public Radio that told stories about the military. She was recently the community engagement producer at Colorado Public Radio, and previously an investigative journalist with Scripps News. Her work has appeared on NPR, BBC, and several podcasts.
In her free time Meredith likes everything outdoors. She studied beekeeping in Slovenia as a Fulbright scholar, which is also where she had her first stint herding goats in the Alps. She’s currently facing her fears by rock climbing and traversing glaciers.
She has a cat that acts like a dog (#mlekothecat). And of course, she loves goats.
Before switching fields to journalism and adopting developer-journalist as her professional identity, she was an engineer-with-no-hyphenation at Microsoft. She got a graduate degree in journalism to top off her bachelor's degree in computer science & engineering. She has, since, worked on both the product and the editorial sides of newsrooms, been an OpenNews fellow, lost more awards than she has won and generally enjoyed all aspects of working in journalism.
She thought she was a dog person and then she met her cat, Jude. Now she is a cat-and-dog person. She strongly believes that hyphenation can solve most problems.